1 John 3:11-17
From the beginning, the message you heard was to love each other. Don’t be like Cain who murdered his brother. He was from the devil. Why did he kill his brother? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s were good.
Don’t be surprised if the world hates you, friends. We know we’ve come alive from the dead because we love each other. Those who don’t love are the living dead. Those who hate their siblings are murderers, and murderers won’t live forever.
Here’s how we know what love is: he sacrificed his life for us. We likewise need to sacrifice our lives for each other. When someone has the wherewithal and yet refuses to help a friend in need, tell me where’s God’s love in that?
What we’re talking about here is envy and sacrifice. Envy is the kind of hatred that is evoked when you don’t have what someone else does. It’s the opposite of sacrifice, the kind of love that is expressed in giving away what you have to fill another’s need.
The first transaction leads from life to death. The second leads from death to life. Yet another paradox. The more of life you give away the more you have, while the more of life you take the more you die.
And its not just for religious individuals. The same is true of businesses, even nations. The more generous they are, and the more magnanimous, the more they thrive. The more demanding and self-centered, the more they wither. Consider the difference, for example, between:
- Southwest and US Airways
- Finland and South Korea
It probably even works that way for churches.